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Forest Fire in Fontainebleau

Gorge aux Châts, one of the many bouldering areas in Fontainebleau, France, caught fire earlier this week. Acres of land were burned.

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Unfortunately, fires have been in the news all too much these days. It seems we haven’t gone more than a month without hearing about a wildfire burning out of control recently. The Western U.S., it sometimes feels, is ablaze. Even climbers’ beloved Yosemite was engulfed in smoke this summer. But forest fires are not unique to the United States. Two days ago, a fire started in Fontainebleau, France, the popular international climbing destination.

Firefighters worked through the night to get the Font blaze under control. Two to three acres—official numbers are not certain yet—of the magical French forest known as Gorge aux Châts were affected. Gorge aux Châts is a climbing area, home to many classic boulders.

This area of the Fontainebleau forest doesn’t get used for much else other than climbing, according to the French National Forestry Office (OFN). Fontainebleau had a relatively dry summer, and thus a fire ban has been in effect. Still, illegal fires have been seen in Fontainebleau. These factoids have led many to speculate that climbers were responsible for the blaze, although the OFN has refrained from making such accusations.

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